Through mediators from Kuwait, demands have been laid on Qatar to be met in 10 days. The gulf region have come up with 13 ultimate grievances as a price to uplift the economic and diplomatic blockade earlier imposed.
Doha is given an onus to entirely close down Al Jazeera network, halt cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or prepare for unspecified consequences. It’s been over a fortnight since Saudi Arabia and the other nations leading the blockade – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed both economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar. The later was accused by Dubai for funding terrorist that that fronted violence within the gulf region for decades.
Already over 15,000 Qatari camels have been deported from Saudi Arabia such a strong message that strains the relationship of Doha and Dubai. Qatar has become reliant on Turkey and Iran for food imports since the embargo was imposed on 5 June and insists with its huge wealth it can survive the embargo for an indefinite period. The trade embargo include; on air, sea or land traffic to and from Qatar.
Just as consequential in the short-term is the air embargo. The three Gulf countries imposing the blockade have all called a halt to their airlines’ flights to and from Qatar, including Saudia, Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Air Arabia and Gulf Air; Qatar Airways has in turn stopped flying to destinations in those countries. “It would be wiser that [Qatar] deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbours or a divorce will take place,” said Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of United Arab Emirates.
“Qatar faces a choice of either stability and prosperity or isolation, he said, adding: “Perhaps the solution is in parting ways.” Trump said that Arab leaders he met in Saudi Arabia last month had urged him to challenge Qatar, which they accuse of backing extremist groups and cosying up to Iran. “So we had a decision to make: do we take the easy road, or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism,” he said. “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”
Qatari-funded media network Al Jazeera has hit back at Arab states’ calls for it to be closed down. The demands were an attempt to “silence freedom of expression“, it said. Al Jazeera said, “We assert our right to practise our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority and we demand that governments respect the freedom of media to allow journalists to continue to do their jobs free of intimidation, threats, and fearmongering,”.
Al Jazeera called on its peers in the industry, media institutions and other international organisations to reaffirm their solidarity in defending media freedom wherever it may be.